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What’s in Terrence Malick’s DVD Player? (You’ll Never Guess…)

As a rule, I try to ignore weird rumors for the same reason that I don’t pick up wet napkins from the sidewalk: you just don’t know where they came from. But this one comes from the British newspaper The Guardian, and the British press wouldn’t lie to me, would they?

It concerns Terrence Malick, the brilliant director of such undisputable American classics as Badlands and Days of Heaven. To call him reclusive and an outsider to the Hollywood establishment would be an understatement: after universal critical acclaim for Days of Heaven in 1978, he didn’t make another film for twenty years. Detractors call his films ponderous and tedious: fans think of them as contemplative with moments of subtle but majestic emotion. In other words, the guy is not a lightweight, as you might expect of someone whose public profile resembles that of J. D. Salinger.

So when someone claims to know what Malick’s favorite movie is, I’m curious to know. Perhaps something by John Ford? Or one of the Japanese masters, like Ozu or Mizoguchi?

Nope. Try something by … Ben Stiller!

In an interview with The Guardian, Seth Rogan, star of Knocked Up and Superbad, claims that Malick’s favorite film of the last ten years is Zoolander, Stiller’s broad comedy in which he and Owen Wilson play fashion models whose combined IQ probably doesn’t crack three digits.  "He knows every word, watches it every week. Which just goes to show, you never can predict these things."

No argument there—I never would have predicted that. But, uh, just how does Rogan come by this information? Seems another script he co-wrote, Pineapple Express, is going to be filmed by David Gordon Green (George Washington). Malick produced Green’s last film, Undertow, and Green considers him a mentor.

I tell you, though, this is going to make me look at Badlands in a whole different light! I think I’m just going to go back to ignoring gossip.

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